Commercial production at Dubreuilville’s second gold mine is officially underway.
Toronto’s Argonaut Gold made that declaration about its Magino open-pit mine on Nov. 1.
Magino is 14 kilometres southwest of Dubreuilville and 40 kilometres northeast of Wawa. The mine is located on the same site of an historic underground mine of the same name. Magino now operates as a conventional truck-and-shovel pit operation with the capacity to produce 150,000 ounces a year.
The first gold pour took place in June.
Magino is parked just to the west of Alamo Gold’s prolific Island Gold underground mine, now undergoing a third phase of expansion.
Several factors go into declaring commercial production, the company said in a news release. Construction and development must be substantially completed, according to design, and certain metrics must be met in the flow of ore to the processing plant, the tonnage crushed and grinded per hour, and with the gold recovery rates, to ensure things are all running smoothly.
COO Marc Leduc said the ramp-up period through September was slower than anticipated due to some mechanical issues in the ball and SAG mills. Contractors assisted the mining team in making some repairs and adjustments.
“The plant has been largely operating at nameplate capacity since the beginning of the quarter," he said.
Argonaut said the slow ramp-up means Magino will not hit its gold target of between 72,000 ounces and 81,000 ounces for this fiscal year. But Magino should be squared away by 2024 to produce 148,000 ounces in its first full year of production.
Production during the third quarter measured 53,911 gold ounces, including pre-commercial production of 10,693 ounces.
Magino is regarded as Argonaut’s flagship operation as its largest and its first Canadian operation. The company runs three other mines in Nevada and two in Mexico at Durango and Sonora.
The initial mine life is tabbed at 19 years but Argonaut believes there’s more gold resources beneath the pit and to the east and west.
"The board of directors and management would like to thank the Magino team for their hard work to achieve the commercial production milestone and celebrate the dedication of all employees, contractors, and community partners that have supported construction of the newest gold mine in Canada as we work to achieve our vision of becoming a low-cost, mid-tier North American gold producer that delivers value to all stakeholders," said Richard Young, Argonaut president-CEO, in a statement.